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(LEAD) Seoul shares sink 1 pct on 1st trading day of 2020

All News 16:40 January 02, 2020

(ATTN: CORRECTS figure in 2nd para; ADDS bond yields at bottom, photo)

SEOUL, Jan. 2 (Yonhap) -- South Korean stocks dropped more than 1 percent Thursday in the first trading session of the new year as investors continued to cash in gains from a recent rally. The South Korean won fell against the U.S. dollar.

The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) dropped 22.50 points, or 1.02 percent, to end at 2,175.17.

Trade volume was moderate at 488 million shares worth 4.58 trillion won (US$3.9 billion), with gainers outnumbering losers 425 to 423.

Analysts said investors went for profit-taking after the index jumped to its highest level in nearly eight months last month by surpassing the 2,200-point mark on the back of progress toward a U.S.-China trade deal.

This photo shows a trading room at KEB Hana Bank in Seoul on Jan. 2, 2020. (Yonhap)

"Investors sold some stocks and there apparently was no momentum out there to push the market forward," Seo Sang-young, an analyst at Kiwoom Securities, said.

Foreigners sold a net 4.2 billion won worth of local stocks, and institutional investors offloaded a net 545 billion won worth of shares. Individual investors scooped up a net 529 billion won on the Seoul bourse.

Most big-name shares were in negative terrain.

Top market cap Samsung Electronics moved down 1.08 percent to 55,200 won, and its smaller rival LG Electronics shed 1.53 percent to 71,000 won. Global chipmaker SK hynix rose 0.64 percent to 94,700 won.

Auto shares were weak as No. 1 automaker Hyundai Motor fell 2.07 percent to 118,000 won, while its sister company Kia Motors plunged 4.06 percent to 42,500 won. Auto parts maker Hyundai Mobis lost 3.32 percent to 247,500 won.

Top pharmaceutical firm Celltrion dipped 0.55 percent to 180,000 won, while Samsung BioLogics lost 1.04 percent to 428,500 won.

The South Korean won closed at 1,158.10 won against the U.S. dollar, down 1.70 won from the previous session's close.

Bond prices, which move inversely to yields, closed higher. The yield on three-year Treasurys fell 3.3 basis points to 1.327 percent, and the return on the benchmark five-year government bond declined 3.9 basis points to 1.441 percent.

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